North Yorkshire

Area Map

North Yorkshire is a county in England. It is a non-metropolitan or shire county located in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, and a ceremonial county primarily in that region but partly in North East England. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 it covers an area of 8,654 square kilometres (3,341 sq mi), making it the largest ceremonial county in England. The majority of the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors lie within North Yorkshire’s boundaries, and around 40% of the county is covered by National Parks. The county town is Northallerton.

The area under the control of the county council, or shire county, is divided into a number of local government districts; they are Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough and Selby.

The Department for Communities and Local Government did consider reorganising North Yorkshire County Council’s administrative structure by abolishing the seven district councils and the county council to create a North Yorkshire unitary authority. The changes were planned to be implemented no later than 1 April 2009. This was rejected on 25 July 2007 so the County Council and District Council structure will remain.

The largest settlement in the administrative county is Harrogate, the second largest is Scarborough, while in the ceremonial county, the largest is York.

Our town list is:

York, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland are unitary authority boroughs which form part of the ceremonial county for various functions such as the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, but do not come under county council control. Uniquely for a district in England, Stockton-on-Tees is split between North Yorkshire and County Durham for this purpose. Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, and Redcar and Cleveland boroughs form part of the North East England region.

The ceremonial county area, including the unitary authorities, borders East Riding of Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria and County Durham.

The geology of North Yorkshire is closely reflected in its landscape. Within the county are the North York Moors and most of the Yorkshire Dales; two of eleven areas of countryside within England and Wales to be officially designated as national parks. Between the North York Moors in the east and the Pennine Hills in the west lie the Vales of Mowbray and York. The Tees Lowlands lie to the north of the North York Moors and the Vale of Pickering lies to the south. Its eastern border is the North sea coast. The highest point is Whernside, on the Cumbrian border, at 736 metres (2,415 ft). The three major rivers in the county are the River Swale, River Ure and the River Tees. The Swale and the Ure form the River Ouse which flows through York and into the Humber estuary. The Tees forms the border between North Yorkshire and County Durham and flows from upper Teesdale to Middlesbrough and Stockton and to the coast.

North Yorkshire was formed on 1 April 1974 as a result of the Local Government Act 1972, and covers most of the lands of the historic North Riding, as well as the northern half of the West Riding, the northern and eastern fringes of the East Riding of Yorkshire and the former county borough of York.

York became a unitary authority independent of North Yorkshire on 1 April 1996, and at the same time Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and areas of Stockton-on-Tees south of the river became part of North Yorkshire for ceremonial purposes, having been part of Cleveland from 1974 to 1996.

North Yorkshire is a non-metropolitan county that operates a cabinet-style council. The full council of 72 elects a council leader, who in turn appoints up to 9 more councillors to form the executive cabinet. The cabinet is responsible for making decisions in the County. The county council have their offices in the county hall in Northallerton.

Agriculture is an important industry, as are mineral extraction and power generation. The county also has healthy high technology, service and tourism sectors. This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added for North Yorkshire at current basic prices with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 7,278 478 2,181 4,618
2000 9,570 354 2,549 6,667
2003 11,695 390 3,025 8,281

 

Rank Town Population Year Borough Definition Notes
1 Harrogate 71,594 2001 Harrogate Town Unparished; collection of wards
2 Scarborough 50,135 2001 Scarborough Town Unparished; collection of wards
3 Ripon 15,922 2001 Harrogate Civil Parish City
4 Northallerton 15,741 2001 Hambleton Civil Parish
5 Knaresborough 14,740 2001 Harrogate Civil Parish
6 Skipton 14,313 2001 Craven Civil Parish
7 Whitby 13,594 2001 Scarborough Civil Parish
8 Selby 13,012 2001 Selby Civil Parish
9 Richmond 8,178 2001 Richmondshire Civil Parish
10 Tadcaster 7,000 2001 Selby Civil Parish
11 Norton 6,943 2001 Ryedale Civil Parish
12 Pickering 6,846 2001 Ryedale Civil Parish
13 Filey 6,819 2001 Scarborough Civil Parish
14 Sherburn-in-Elmet 6,221 2001 Selby Civil Parish
15 Killinghall 5,230 2010 Harrogate Civil Parish

Places of interest include:

  • Ampleforth College
  • Beningbrough Hall
  • Bolton Abbey
  • Bolton Castle
  • Brimham Rocks
  • Byland Abbey – English Heritage (EH)
  • Castle Howard and the Howardian Hills
  • Catterick Garrison
  • Cleveland Hills
  • Drax
  • Duncombe Park – stately home
  • Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
  • Eston Nab
  • Falconry
  • Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo
  • Fountains Abbey
  • Gisborough Priory
  • Helmsley Castle – EH
  • Ingleborough Cave – show cave
  • Kirkham Priory
  • Lightwater Valley
  • Malham Cove
  • Middleham Castle
  • Mount Grace Priory – EH
  • North Yorkshire Moors Railway
  • Ormesby Hall – Palladian Mansion
  • Richmond Castle
  • Rievaulx Abbey – EH
  • Ripley Castle – Stately home and historic village
  • Ripon Cathedral
  • Selby Abbey
  • Scarborough Castle – EH
  • Shandy Hall – stately home
  • Skipton Castle
  • Stanwick Iron Age Fortifications – EH
  • Studley Royal Park
  • Stump Cross Caverns – show cave
  • Thornborough Henges
  • Wharram Percy
  • Whitby Abbey
  • York Minster
  • Yorkshire Air Museum

The main north-south road through the county is the A1/A1(M) which has gradually been upgraded to motorway status since the early 1990s. The only other motorways within the county are the short A66(M) near Darlington and a small stretch of the M62 motorway close to Eggborough. The other nationally maintained trunk routes are the A168/A19, A64, the A66 and A174.

The East Coast Main Line (ECML) bisects the county stopping at Northallerton, Thirsk and York. Passenger services on the ECML within the county are operated by East Coast, First TransPennine Express and Grand Central. First TransPennine Express run services on the York to Scarborough Line and the Northallerton–Eaglescliffe Line (for Middlesbrough) that both branch off the ECML.

Northern Rail operate the remaining lines in the county including commuter services on the Harrogate Line, Airedale Line and York & Selby Lines, of which the former two are covered by the Metro ticketing area. Remaining branch lines operated by Northern include the Yorkshire Coast Line from Scarborough to Hull, the Hull to York Line via Selby, the Tees Valley Line from Darlington to Saltburn and the Esk Valley Line from Middlesbrough to Whitby. Last but certainly not least, the Settle-Carlisle Line runs through the west of the county with services again operated by Northern.

The county suffered badly under the Beeching cuts of the 1960s which saw places like Richmond, Ripon, Tadcaster, Helmsley, Pickering and the Wensleydale communities lose their passenger services. Notable lines closed were the Scarborough and Whitby Railway, Malton and Driffield Railway and the secondary main line between Northallerton and Harrogate via Ripon.

Heritage railways within North Yorkshire include the North Yorkshire Moors Railway between Pickering and Grosmont, which opened in 1973, the Derwent Valley Light Railway near York, and the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. The Wensleydale Railway, which started operating in 2003, runs services between Leeming Bar and Redmire along a former freight only line. The medium term aim to operate into Northallerton station on the ECML once agreement can be reached with Network Rail, whilst the longer term aim to re-instate the full line west via Hawes to Garsdale on the Settle-Carlisle line.

York railway station is the largest station in the county with 11 platforms and a tourist attraction in its own right. The station is immediately adjacent to the world famous National Railway Museum.

North Yorkshire is home to several football clubs, including Middlesbrough who play in the Championship and York City who play in League Two. Whitby Town FC have reached the FA cup first round seven times, and have played the likes of Hull City, Wigan and Plymouth Argyle, they currently play in the Evo-Stik Premier league. No notable rugby union teams hail from the county but York City Knights are a rugby league team and play in the Rugby League Championship. Yorkshire County Cricket Club, play a number of fixtures at North Marine Road, Scarborough. The ball game Rock-It-Ball was developed in the county.

North Yorkshire is home to many racecourses; these include Catterick Bridge, Redcar, Ripon and Thirsk. It also has one motor racing circuit, Croft Circuit; the circuit holds meetings of the British Touring Car Championship, British Superbike and Pickup Truck Racing race series.

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